Friday, February 27, 2009

Win These Quilts and Support the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles

In an effort to support our local quilt museum ( we have donated two of our quilts.

Tickets are a $10 donation each. They are our own original patterns that are machine pieced, hand appliqu├ęd; the larger one is a traditional floral design and the smaller version has an Asian flare. The drawing will be held on Thursday October 1, 2009 at the opening reception for the quilt exhibit honoring Joyce Gross to support the American Quilt Study Group. All proceeds from the sale of tickets for the opportunity quilts go directly to the Museum. We hope you will be interested in supporting this wonderful space. You can contact us directly if you are interested in purchasing tickets (

Thank you for your considering the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles among your list of donations. Here’s a comment from the Museum’s web site:

If you believe as we do — that art nurtures a sense of community, and that celebrating women’s astonishing contributions to the history of art and culture is important — we ask you to please show what this Museum means to you with a gift to our Annual Fund. Make a gift and help us create those moments in life that a person never forgets — moments when you suddenly feel intensely alive to your own and others’ capacity to make beauty and to find meaning out of the chaos of human experience.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Do you like a Mystery?

We are always looking for new and exciting ideas for classes. Mystery quilt classes have been around for several years and we have taught a few of them. This past weekend Laura decided to try another design. Laura made the students a mystery lunch – a big pot of tortellini soup, salad and Ghirardelli brownies (yum!). It was such a fun day and a huge success. The students were kept guessing right up until the very end of the day when all of the pieces were pinned onto the wall. Each and every one of the quilts turned out fabulous. We will definitely be making this into a pattern. We will post photos of the students work when they are completed. Until it’s ready to go, here’s a sneak peek at some of the pieces.

Can you tell whet the overall design will be? Let us know and we will send a free pattern to the first one who solves the mystery.

If you have never tried a mystery quilt class or pattern we encourage you to do it. It’s an exciting way to spend the day sewing with friends or other students. Consider having a mystery quilt party. Let us know how it goes. We enjoy hearing your stories.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Bouquets for You

Empty Spools Seminars sent out cards last week with the image of our quilt pattern “Bouquets for You”.

This is our original design and an example of what Laura will be teaching at the 5th session (August 30-Sept. 4, 2009). This five-day class offers you an opportunity to learn to draft your own original design, determine the best methods for cutting and constructing them and selecting fabric. Those interested in taking it one step further, can also learn how to write instructions for producing your own patterns. If you are a shop owner or teacher you can use this time to develop new classes. With Laura’s expertise you can make the sample quilts and write the instructions. You will be ready to return to your shop not only with an abundance of new ideas for classes, but samples ready to display. We ran the Teacher’s Development Seminars for C & T Publishing for over 7 years and have taught classes for over 25. We know what is important for designing successful classes.

Consider joining us at the Empty Spools Seminars located at Asilomar.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Interesting that RED is both our favorite colors; red walls, sofas, jackets, doors and as you might imagine, an abundance of luscious red fabrics just waiting to be used. We never need an excuse to adorn ourselves with red or use it in one of our quilts. The heart shape has always been special to Diana. As a child she enjoyed paper-cutting and the heart shape was one of her favorites. There is a small basket in Diana’s studio that collects the mail until Laura stops by to collect it. You can see that the paper weight is heart shaped.

Little did Laura know that tucked into the stack of mail was a special Valentine for her. What a delightful surprise to open the envelope and find this special and personal handmade Valentine.

It is just perfect. That sweet little dark-haired girl in the center of the crazy quilted block just touched my heart. Just look at those adorable ladybug buttons hanging from the ribbons. Diana knows how crazy I am about ladybugs. The backside has a place for writing your own personal love note. This is a quick and easy gift for your special valentine.

Laura loves baking almost as much as quilting. This week the heart-shaped cutters will get a lot of use. These delicate sugar cookies with pink tinted buttercream frosting will be shared with the students. Here’s our favorite sugar cookie recipe. I like to bake them so they are just a little underdone and then let them finish while cooling. This makes them just a little soft to the touch and melt in your mouth. I usually double the recipe as these go quickly!

Our Favorite Sugar Cookies

Taken from an old Betty Crocker Cookbook
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. almond extract
2-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar
granulated sugar (optional)

Mix thoroughly butter, confectioners’ sugar, egg, vanilla and almond extract. Blend in flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 to 3 hours.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Divide dough in half. Roll to 3/16” thick onto a lightly floured board. Use your cookie cutters to cut into desired shapes, sprinkle with granulated sugar. Place on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 7-8 minutes or until light brown.


From our heart to yours… HAVE A WONDERFUL VALENTINE’S DAY.
Diana and Laura